18 -19 juin 2016Automobile Club de l'Ouest

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24 Hours of Mans : The records to be beaten

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This year the race celebrates its 90th Anniversary.

Some records are more recent, others are many years old. Here is a detailed review:

251.815 km/h: The average speed of the fastest lap of the race, regardless of the length of the circuit. This record dates from 1985 and was set by the German driver Hans-Joachim Stuck in qualifying. To beat that today a driver would have to complete a lap in 3:14.843, while the fastest lap (Andre Lotterer in the Audi R18 e-tron quattro) in 2012 was 3:23.787 or 240.763 km/h .

246.463 km/h: This is the fastest race average speed. Loïc Duval holds the record since 2010. He was also the fastest last year, but with an average of 240.289 km/h.

5,410.713 kilometres: This is the largest number of kilometres covered in 24 hours. This record was held for 39 years by the team of Helmut Marko, best known now for his role at Red Bull Racing, and Gijs Van Lennep (5,335.313 km). It was beaten in 2010 by the winning team of Timo Bernhard, Romain Dumas and Mike Rockenfeller (Audi R15 TDI) while everyone concluded that in this year, the tortoise beat the hare! Indeed, the Peugeot was faster, but none finished after a mechanical problem that affected three of the four French cars, the fourth having been abandoned at the beginning of the race for a different reason. The tortoise was not so slow!

405 km/h: This is the fastest speed ever achieved on the circuit. The record belongs to Roger Dorchy with the WM P88 in 1988 at a time when the two chicanes on the Mulsanne straight did not exist. This record is likely to last much longer because the straights of the modern circuit are not long enough today, and maximum speeds are now reached between Mulsanne and Indianapolis.

These four records now seem hard to beat, but at Le Mans, anything can happen. A hailstorm has even hit the city today. What would happen if this type of weather event occurred on the day of the race?

Cécile Bonardel / ACO

PHOTO CIRCUIT OF THE 24 HOURS, LE MANS , FRANCE, SCRUTINEERIING FOR THE 24 HOURS 2013 : Loïc Duval holds the race average speed record.

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